Police, Army Clash In Ebonyi State


Violence was averted in Nkwagu, a town close to Abakiliki, the capital of Ebonyi State, on Saturday evening when some police officers clashed with soldiers from a nearby Army Cantonment.

The state police Public Relations Officer, George Okafor, confirmed the incident to newsmen on Sunday in Abakiliki.

He said the clash was unfortunate and efforts have been made by the two agencies to forestall such occurrences in future.

“The matter has been peacefully resolved and we urge the public not to panic over the development but be assured of their safety at all times,” he said.

The policeman declined to say whether any officer from the two security agencies sustained any injury in the clash.

However, a witness, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, that trouble started when a police patrol team on road check requested for the identity cards and vehicle particulars of the army officers.

“The soldiers rode a tinted Toyota Camry car with registration number BWR 886 AE and a black Toyota Jeep with the inscription of ‘Bride’ used to convey a newly wedded couple.

“The soldiers, who were in their uniforms except one personnel, told the police team they were returning from a wedding and felt embarrassed by their request for the documents.

“At this point, one of the police officers stopped the soldiers from passing and the latter angrily fired sporadically into the air,” he said.

According to the witness, who is a security agent, the police officers then called their colleague in the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, on phone and immediately they stormed the scene and one of them reportedly slapped a soldier.

The witness added that the police who were more in number then took some of the soldiers to the command’s headquarters and confiscated their rifles.

    “The soldiers who escaped from the scene, rushed to the cantonment and on their way, allegedly attacked some policemen near the cantonment and held them hostage,” the security agent told NAN.

    The witness also said one of the police officers held by the soldiers was later released and he quickly rushed to the command to report that some officers were being held at the cantonment.

    “This development almost affected the peace moves made by both security agencies but the situation eventually normalised following intervention by top echelon of both agencies,” the source added.

    The army authorities were yet to react to NAN enquiries or make public their reaction over the development.

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